• Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

    Brentano Quartet Performs NY Premiere of Hartke’s “Night Songs for a Desert Flower”, November 3



    Also on the Program Are String Quartets by Haydn and Beethoven  


    Carnegie Hall presents the Brentano String Quartet on Wednesday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall. Their concert features the New York premiere of Stephen Hartke’s Night Songs for a Desert Flower, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Also on the program are Haydn’s String Quartet in F Major and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-sharp Minor.

    Night Songs for a Desert Flower, commissioned for the Brentano String Quartet by Carnegie Hall and the Harvard Musical Association, is Stephen Hartke’s first work for string quartet. Described by the composer as “a book of madrigals for string quartet,” the work is a set of songs without words, in which the “drama” takes place on a purely musical rather than literary stage. The title evokes the centuries-old tradition of “night music,” music of a nocturnal and often phantasmagorical character. Hartke has explored this type of music before in a haunting movement from his piano quartet The King of the Sun titled “The flames of the sun make the desert flower hysterical.”

    The Brentano String Quartet returns to Carnegie Hall later this season on March 2 for Making Music: James MacMillan in Zankel Hall, performing the United States premiere of MacMillan’s Horn Quintet.

    About the Artists
    Since its inception in 1992, the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. Within a few years of its formation, the quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award; and in 1996 the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center invited them to be the inaugural members of its Chamber Music Society Two program. The quartet had its first European tour in 1997, and was honored in the UK with the Royal Philharmonic Award for Most Outstanding Debut. That debut recital was at London's Wigmore Hall, and the quartet has continued its relationship with Wigmore, appearing there regularly and serving as the hall's quartet-in-residence in the 2000–01 season. In recent seasons the quartet has traveled widely, appearing all over the United States and Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, and Australia. They have performed in many of the world's most prestigious concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Concertgebouw, Suntory Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano String Quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, among them Madrigals of Gesualdo, Fantasias of Purcell, and secular vocal works of Josquin. Also, the quartet has worked closely with prominent composers of our time, among them Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Steven Mackey, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The quartet celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2002 by commissioning ten composers to write companion pieces for selections from Bach's The Art of Fugue. The Brentano String Quartet became the first Resident String Quartet at Princeton University, and their duties there are wide-ranging, including performances, workshops with graduate composers, coaching undergraduates in chamber music, and assisting in other classes in the Music Department. The quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," the intended recipient of his famous love confession.

    Stephen Hartke grew up in New York City and studied at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania and went on to teach at the University of Southern California. His eclectic and distinctively personal style is laced with West Coast multiculturalism, drawing on sources as diverse as modern blues, Tudor church music, and traditional folk idioms. Behind Hartke’s fondness for richly evocative programmatic titles is an abiding concern for the basic compositional elements of rhythm, structure, and motivic development. His voracious appetite for music history is illustrated by works like A Brandenburg Autumn, inspired by Bach’s First “Brandenburg” Concerto, which was premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Although best known for his instrumental and vocal chamber music, Hartke has written a number of large-scale works, including the Symphony No. 3 and the opera The Greater Good, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Glimmerglass Opera, respectively.

    Program Information
    Wednesday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

       Mark Steinberg, Violin
       Serena Canin, Violin
       Misha Amory, Viola
       Nina Lee, Cello

    JOSEPH HAYDN String Quartet in F Major, Op. 77, No. 2
    STEPHEN HARTKE Night Songs for a Desert Flower (NY Premiere, co-commissioned
                                  by Carnegie Hall)
    LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

    This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A. E. Charitable Foundation.

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall. 

    Ticket Information
    Tickets, priced at $52 and $58, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

    For more information discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.




    # # #